Thursday, June 25, 2015

Handmade Luxury - Let's meet Industrial Designer Dean Cloutier

Jade table in Canadian jade and 24k gold

Fascinated by Dean's handmade Jade tables and some of his prototypes, it was very worthwhile to make a trip visiting his studio. This super decent designer surely has a passion talking about his work, yet also knows how to enjoy a good life. He is a very knowledgeable person! During our conversations, I sometimes throw out some facts, he would then finish the stories about how and why they happened.  

His design is absolutely one of a kind piece of functional art that upscales your home atmosphere! 

1. When did you realise that being an Artist was going to be your path?

I still struggle with whether I am an artist, a designer or a builder. I am all three, and sometimes just one. But it was around 2006 that I knew that I chose to do design/build.

2. What inspires you or stimulate your thought?

I have always enjoyed reading for the way it forces a different point of view upon me. It gives me many voices that I can connect to and puts me in the mind of another person for a while. For inspiration I like to put on a record at night when the house is quiet, sip on a good glass of whiskey and recap on the day. I find this is a good time to inspire new angles on current projects.

3. What is your average day like?

Dean Cloutier
I split my time between a few different projects most of the time. But I am up between 6 and 7:30 most days. If I can I spend a bit of time with my son before I head out if I am working away from home. If I am working at home I wake up a little later, spend a bit more time with my son and enjoy the morning with him while I do some reading, write emails and update my website. Dinner is family time again and I like to sit at the bar with a beer and talk with my wife while she cooks us dinner. Evenings is work again for a couple hours before switching off and reading for a bit before bed. I try to spend two or three nights a week out in the neighborhood catching up with the locals.

4. Why do you think it’s integral to work as an artist?

It gives me a freedom where it is all about my rules. This is something that designers and builders struggle with. But as an artist I can get away with this freedom.

5. What kinds of story do you like the most? Why?

I like adventure stories, the classic character who is smart, capable and charming. Someone who has to work for their success and yet is not completely driven by wealth.

Blueprint group owns a handful of successful bars and nightclubs in Vancouver. I was approached by the talented studio of Hopewell to lead the design of a major feature wall. In all there were 80 frames, most of which were different sizes. Due to the curve of the wall, each frame would have a radius that would allow the frames to follow the wall nicely. Its all about the details.

6. How has your practice changed over time?

I have learned to rely on myself more and more. It is harder but in the end I am only held accountable to myself and my family. Business seems often about taking from others rather than adding to our environment in a positive way so in many ways I am trying to find my business success by following my heart.

7. Who’s your favourite Artist? How does this Artist inspire or mentor you?

My favorite local artist is David Robinson. His sculptures show me the struggle of man in our complicated built environment in the simplest way possible; essentially one man vs one machine.

8. Specially in today's climate, there are many emerging artists looking for the kind of direction and passion that you, as a successful artist, clearly have, what kind of advice would you give to those who are also looking for the direction and path?

Do not spend lots of others money trying to figure out if you are an artist. Learn by doing and have someone pay you for this. While school is a great way to learn, it is also a great way to create debt and this makes it hard for people to follow their passions. And as a young person in today’s world, you are not entitled to anything. Jobs and homes especially are not just handed out by birthright for most of us.

9. In your opinion, what role is Artist playing nowadays?

The same roles as artists always have. Beauty, creativity, and a way for people to come together.

10. What is your 5 year goal?

To continue with what I am doing now but gaining more ability to move around more. I love Vancouver but I want to start spending more time away every year, about 4 months. I am into my second year of my current plan of gaining this freedom, and by year 5 it should be complete.


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